HC Deb 02 July 1925 vol 185 cc2786-7

asked the Minister of Health whether he will advise the Government to pay to Mr. William Smart Harnett an adequate sum in compensation for his wrongful detention in various mental hospitals, having regard to the fact that Mr. Harnett has been found by a jury to have been sane when detained by Dr. Bond and for the rest of his detention, that this opinion has not been upset by either the Court of Appeal or the House of Lords, by which tribunals Mr. Harnett's case has been heard, and having regard to the fact that, although having thus been found to be sane, Mr. Harriett is to-day practically a ruined man on account of the legal expenses of the three actions in which he was concerned and the heavy expenses of his confinement, in all a sum of over £25,000?


I do not think that any claim for compensation out of public funds can be substantiated in this case. In any event, no servant of the Crown was involved other than Dr. Bond, and, as my Noble Friend is no doubt aware, a new trial has been ordered against Dr. Bond and the matter is therefore still sub judice. I must not, however, be taken as admitting that the questions accurately states the facts, for I observe that the Lord Chancellor in his judgment dismissing Mr. Harnett's appeal expressly pointed out that it was not in fact proved at the trial, nor found by the jury, that the appellant was of sound mind between the date of his alleged detention by Dr. Bond and his subsequent escape from custody.